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Knowing Your Rights During a Montgomery County DUI Stop

When a driver is pulled over by police on suspicion of a DUI, they still possess certain constitutional protections. For example, drivers have the right to remain silent, the right to refuse any tests, and the right not to answer the officer’s questions.

While it is important to remain polite, an individual does not have to cooperate with all of an officer’s requests. In most cases, answering law enforcement questions will only harm an arrestee’s eventual case in court. Instead, a driver should calmly ask to speak with an attorney. Knowing your rights during a Montgomery County DUI stop may be crucial to avoiding a conviction.

Consenting to Tests and Searches

Implied consent is the consent that one could believe to exist based on a person’s actions or inactions. Implied consent applies to DUI cases in determining who must submit to a breathalyzer. This law means that when a person agrees to have a Maryland driver’s license, they are agreeing to suffer sanctions to their license if they do not participate in a breathalyzer test. Technically, a person has a right to refuse a breathalyzer test in Maryland, but they would suffer sanction as a result of that refusal.

Drivers do not need to consent to a search of their vehicle after being arrested for a DUI. In most cases, however, an officer could develop a basis for a search by way of a “search incident to arrest,” which would usually allow an officer to search a vehicle after an individual has been arrested for another offense.

Mistakes to Avoid

The biggest mistake to avoid in DUI stops is speaking to the officer unnecessarily. A person is not required to incriminate themselves under any circumstances and confessing anything to the responding officer could be damaging.

If a driver is not comfortable giving answers to questions, they could simply let the officer know that they plan to exercise their right to remain silent. If they are not comfortable answering questions without counsel, they could let the officer know that as well.

Also, drivers in Maryland are not required to participate in field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests. Refusing certain tests may lead to sanctions, but it may also prevent law enforcement from gathering the evidence necessary for a DUI conviction.

Knowing Your Rights During a Montgomery County DUI Stop

During a DUI stop, a driver could ask to speak to a lawyer at any point in time, as well as refuse to answer questions at any point in time. Drivers are not always given a specific opportunity to speak to an attorney, but some officers—at their discretion—would give people a moment to discuss the matter with their lawyer on the roadside or at the police station preceding a breathalyzer test.

If a police officer does not offer this opportunity, however, an arrestee should repeatedly, verbally request to speak with an attorney. A person’s rights during a Montgomery County DUI stop or immediately after a DUI arrest include the right to refuse to speak to an officer and the right to speak to counsel. Drivers should take the opportunity to contact a criminal defense attorney at the first moment possible, to ensure that they do not surrender their right to counsel. To learn more about your rights, reach out to a legal professional today.

Montgomery County DUI Traffic Stops